Have you ever experienced a false memory in your life? Maybe you find out that a brand name is different, or someone proves an event you thought happened didn’t occur at the time you thought? Not to worry, this is actually very common. In fact, 30% of people could be convinced of experiencing a false autobiographical event. False memories can come from the tendency to believe something that is not real or forgetting the true source of where a memory comes from. Did you know that false memories can even affect groups of people?
Introducing the Mandela Effect
The psychological phenomena in which a large group of people misremember a specific detail or event is known as the Mandela Effect. Some popular examples of this are people remembering Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood lyrics incorrectly, remembering the Monopoly Man having a monocle when he never did, or believing that Jif peanut butter is actually ‘Jiffy’. What’s interesting is that it isn’t just a few people who report misremembering these events, there are hundreds of people that feel the same way, but why?
The most widely accepted explanation of the Mandela Effect is simply the need to conform. When a group of people hold a belief it is more likely that another person will agree with them simply to feel as though they fit in. As time passes this need to conform can trigger false memories, source-memory errors, or imagination inflation.
Do You Remember Information Correctly?
While some people are still hesitant to believe our memories can be so easily fooled, recent studies have shown that 76% of adults fail to recall information correctly. This proves that there is still much to learn about human memory, and the Mandela Effect may be a gateway into discovering more. In the meantime, there are steps you can take to protect yourself against the Mandela Effect.
One of the easiest ways to make sure the information you are receiving is accurate is to fact-check. Make sure you are checking information from multiple sources so that you can make sure it is true and have hard evidence to prove it. It can also be helpful to create documentation of life events or important information so that the risk of false memory or source memory errors occur.
It is also important to understand that the Mandela Effect can happen to anyone. While it shouldn’t make you feel ashamed or embarrassed that you misremembered an event or detail, it should prove how important it is to analyze information critically.